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Published: April 15th 2017
At best a reluctant shopper, I have perfected the Miranda 'browse/sweep/leave' method of shopping with great expertise. Shopping malls are therefore usually hell on earth for me. Not so today as I discover that shopping malls are one of the few public spaces in India that are air conditioned! Suddenly I develop a huge interest in watches, shoes, designer bags and the like! There is both an Indian and Western clothing section in one department store in Sulthan Batthay whose cold air I am making use of, so I make a pretence of looking at some of the Indian styles only to suddenly realise that the prices are set, so no bartering! Yay, finally I can shop without the dreadful business of being expected to try and get a better price when it's already so cheap it feels like stealing. I try on a top and also find a perfect pressie for one of my daughters. Result and it's even time to get back to the minibus so no more browse/sweeping required. It turns out I'm not the only one who goes into Indian malls with no intention of shopping. Suresh, our guide for the day, admits he often goes into
malls and suddenly gets a really important phone call (not) just so he can cool off.
We are on our way to meet a local potter and maybe have a go at making a pot ourselves. When we arrive we see a large stone wheel on the ground and this we find out is what potters used to make their pots on before the electric potter's wheel came along. Our potter gives us a demo, first placing a big flat piece of brown clay on the centre of the wheel, no throwing it like we do in the UK and then centering it. Then he gets the wheel spinning really fast by using a stick to turn it before quickly fashioning a pot, just like that, easy peasy or so people think before having a go and everything going all wobbly when the clay gets off centre. The potter is very kind and helps them to rescue their pots. I sneakily don't tell anyone I've done it before so they are very impressed when I make a cute little pot, no wobbles, no help. I fess up only after the applause. We also take a look at the huge
round earthenware kiln that has a fire pit underneath it and we see the potter's latest load of pots inside.
We also get to meet the potter's wife, little boy and best of all their very cute baby girl who is crying when we first meet her. She soon stops when she sees the weird strangers and we even manage to get her to crack a smile. Absolutely adorable.
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